For some time I have been writing about the advantages of blending young wines (particularly inexpensive ones) to get a wine that suits your taste. This covers a wide variety of wines from Two Buck Chuck up (to read one of the early Blending Man articles click here and to read the article on blending and Two Buck Chuck click here) .
But recently, I was afforded another quite unexpected opportunity to put on my blending man cape. You see our son, Jeff, was to be married, and he and his bride to be, Courtney, are a year apart in age. The idea was to propose a toast with a blend of Champagnes from each birth year, 1977 and 1978. Nice concept, but one that I could not make happen. I have some wonderful 1977 Drappier Champagne (to read about this great Champagne house click here ) which we have enjoyed many times over the years on Jeff’s birthday. But, I do not have any 1978 Champagne, nor could I find any.
But my wife, Laurie, and I were not about to give up. It was Laurie’s idea to do the toast, and I thought the Champagne idea would work. When that idea did not work, we had to come up with something else. Suddenly we were struck by a bolt of inspiration. What about two red wines? I have a lot of 1977s that I bought to cellar and have for Jeff’s birthdays. We have had many great bottles, particularly California Cabernets. This has turned out to be a great year for California Cabernet. Also, 1978 was a great year for California Cabernet. So what about a 1977 and 1978 California Cabernet blend? That would really work, and what would be better than a blend of two of the designated vineyard bottlings from Diamond Creek Vineyards? The decade of the 1970s was magical for Diamond Creek Vineyards. The winery debuted with the 1972 vintage and enjoyed great success from the very beginning. The Underground was amongst the first to visit the winery. Over the years we marveled at the profound wines that founder Al Brounstein was able to craft. Then when tasting the 1978s from barrel, we “discovered” the solitary barrel of Lake Vineyard and convinced Al to bottle it (to read more about Diamond Creek and its history click here).
So in thinking about the “wedding blend” my thoughts turned to 1977 and 1978 Diamond Creek Vineyards Volcanic Hill and Red Rock Terrace. The vineyards are close to each other, and Jeff and Courtney both grew up close together in Orange County, CA. The Volcanic Hill to me has always been the most masculine of the Diamond Creek Vineyards wines and the Red Rock Terrace more subtle and refined with a feminine side. So I made my decision – 1977 Volcanic Hill and 1978 Red Rock Terrace. I tasted them both. The 1977 Volcanic Hill was rich and flavorful with still some underlying tannin to resolve. The 1978 Red Rock Terrace was soft and rounded with lovely fruit and not quite the richness of the Volcanic Hill. Both were gorgeous. I blended them 50/50 and was astounded at the balance and the complexity of the marriage. Laurie then tasted the blend and gave it her enthusiastic endorsement. So the “wedding blend” was created. It was fabulous and everyone loved it. The wine, the history, the symbolism, the correlation of the wine, and the young couple were all perfect.
So the next time you are celebrating something that calls for wines from different years, think about this “wedding blend”. Be creative and play the Blending Game!
In Vino Veritas,